Over the years, it has become clear that sleep is a vital physiological function crucial to athletic recovery. Sleep deprivation has been shown to adversely impact many aspects of athletic performance including reaction times, accuracy, vigor, submaximal strength, and endurance (Vitale et al., 2019). Because of this, athletes must optimize their sleep as a key foundational element of their training system.
So what can we do to optimize our sleep so that we can experience better recovery and performance?
Top tips for better sleep:
- Establish a regular bedtime routine. Having a routine each evening before bed will help you relax. Some examples we love are reading for ten minutes, taking a warm bath, and limiting screen time one hour before bed.
- Optimize your sleep environment: Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool.
- Incorporate meditation and brainwave entrainment. Rewire’s mindset recovery and binaural beats are perfect for this.
- Reduce mental fatigue. Recovery from exercise should not only focus on muscle recovery, reducing mental fatigue and strain from other external stressors in life is just as important for healthy sleep. Read more about becoming mentally strong here.
- Optimize your nutrition. Consuming foods higher in carbohydrates, proteins and foods containing naturally occurring melatonin (e.g. tomatoes, walnuts, raspberries) at night may improve sleep. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol if possible. More better energy during the day, check out our article on foods to fight fatigue here!
Vitale, K. C., Owens, R., Hopkins, S. R., & Malhotra, A. (2019). Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations. International journal of sports medicine, 40(8), 535–543. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-0905-3103